We are often “caught-up” in internet conversations with a limited toolset to use for communication. Limited characters, limited time, limited to text, and limited to modes of communication that each create a set of barriers to communication that to keep us from fully flesh out the post that we make on social media.
Barrier 1: We forget our connections to individuals. In the face-to-face world, we have a limited number of friends, relatives, or family members that we are willing to share our intimate thoughts, fears. These individuals know not only what you say, but what you believe.
Barrier 2: Many of us are reactive communicators response quickly, but often in a manner that is not always fully matured.
Barrier 3: The first draft is not always the best version of thought post. Communication immediacy as opposed to a nuanced discussion.
Barrier 4: We post on our own social media pages with a wide range of friends, followers, and the public. “You can’t please everyone, so you’ve got to please yourself.” You have control of what you are thinking, but not what the reader interprets when reading it.
Barrier 5: Discussion and arguments on the internet escalate at maximum speed on the internet that occurs seldom seen in person. Face-to-Face conversations facilitate compromise in a personal way that can not be accomplished online. All too often, we depersonalize online posts and comments.
These are just a sample of communication barriers that are universal to social media. I have posted the following (in a similar version) on all of my social media:
“Opinions I express here are my own!
Repost, likes, etc. don’t imply my support.
Think for yourself.”
What does this mean?
I try, to the best of my ability, to express my opinions clearly on my social media pages. You may not be able to fully interpret these opinions if you and I have not spent time together communicating about a particular issue.
There are many opinions on politics that I do not fully explain in my social media posts.
There are many opinions on self-defense that I do not fully explain in my social media posts.
There are many opinions on the Constitution and Bill of Rights that I do not fully explain in my social media posts.
There are many opinions on learning that I do not fully explain in each of my social media posts.
There are many opinions on information science that I do not fully explain in each of my social media posts.
There are many opinions on more coffee and less hate that I do not fully explain in each of my social media posts.
Many different friend/follower groups that comment on each of my social media posts. Their opinions are not my opinions.
I base my opinions on my best knowledge of a subject. You might not be fully aware of my education, training, or reading on the subject. By the way, I seldom comment on issues where I am ignorant. Again, the barriers described above limit our ability to communicate entirely through social media.
I often repost memes, videos, and post from others. These reposts are not indicative of my support of another’s opinions. There is a broader context for all of the reposts that may not be clear with a limited ability to communicate entirely through social media.
I often “like” a post from people and groups that I follow. These reposts are not indicative of my support of another’s opinion. There is a broader context for all of the reposts that may not be clear with a limited ability to communicate entirely through social media. I believe that everyone has a vast and almost unlimited right to post their opinion. I may like many things that I adamantly disagree with based on what expressed in a particular post. However, I support the broadcast of their views. Public expressions of beliefs, ideas, and opinions are essential, and they should not be suppressed – we move forward through ideas and discussions.
Yes, I will argue opinions with others – even with myself. I’m a scholar.
“To talk in public, to think in solitude, to read and to hear,
to inquire and answer inquiries, is the business of the scholar.”
– Samuel Johnson